Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1708664
 
 

Citations (1)



 
 

Footnotes (294)



 


 



Randomized Evaluation in Legal Assistance: What Difference Does Representation (Offer and Actual Use) Make?


D. James Greiner


Harvard University - Program for Legal Profession; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Cassandra Wolos Pattanayak


Harvard University - Department of Statistics

July 29, 2011

Yale Law Journal, Vol. 121, 2011

Abstract:     
We report the results of the first of a series of randomized evaluations of legal assistance programs. This series of evaluations is designed to measure the effect of both an offer of and the actual use of representation, although it was not possible in the first study we report here to measure constructively all effects of actual use. The results of this first evaluation are unexpected, and we caution against both over-generalization and under-generalization.

Specifically, the offers of representation came from a law school clinic, which provided high-quality and well-respected assistance in administrative “appeals” to state ALJs of initial rulings regarding eligibility for unemployment benefits (these “appeals” were actually de novo mini-trials). Our randomized evaluation found that the offers of representation from the clinic had no statistically significant effect on the probability that an unemployment claimant would prevail in the “appeal,” but that the offers did delay proceedings by (on average) about two weeks. Actual use of representation (from any source) also delayed the proceeding; we could come to no firm conclusions regarding the effect of actual use of representation (from any source) on the probability that claimants would prevail. Keeping in mind the high-quality and well-respected nature of the representation the law school clinic offered and provided, we explore three possible explanations for our results, each of which has implications for delivery of legal services.

We conduct a review of previous quantitative research attempting to measure representation effects. We find that excepting the results of two randomized studies separated by more than thirty years, this literature provides virtually no credible quantitative information on the effect of an offer of or actual use of legal representation.

We discuss disadvantages, advantages, and future prospects of randomized studies in the provision of legal assistance.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 82

Keywords: Legal Representation, Legal Aid, Legal Services, Litigation, Lawyer Effects, Randomized Control Trial, Selection Effects

JEL Classification: K41

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: November 14, 2010 ; Last revised: November 6, 2013

Suggested Citation

Greiner, D. James and Pattanayak, Cassandra Wolos, Randomized Evaluation in Legal Assistance: What Difference Does Representation (Offer and Actual Use) Make? (July 29, 2011). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 121, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1708664

Contact Information

Daniel Greiner (Contact Author)
Harvard University - Program for Legal Profession ( email )
23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(617) 496-4643 (Phone)

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )
124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Cassandra Wolos Pattanayak
Harvard University - Department of Statistics ( email )
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 7,850
Downloads: 1,418
Download Rank: 6,437
Citations:  1
Footnotes:  294

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.328 seconds